THE FIFA World Cup kicks off today – and that means four weeks of excitedly filling in wallcharts and football dominating the telly and conversation.
Pubs will be filled with men shouting and cheering at screens, but it’s a sending off offence to assume that only lads enjoy the beautiful game.
Mike Thomas – The Sun Roxy is planning on throwing a World Cup party Todour isn’t invited to
For years, there have been jokes about World Cup Widows – women who “lose” their husbands for the entire tournament.
But what about when the boot is on the other foot and the woman is the devout footy fan?
Here, JON AXWORTHY meets three couples where the men are left twiddling their thumbs during the big matches.
‘I’m kicking him out for the first match bash’
SPURS fan Roxy Watson, 25, who works in retail, lives in Truro, Cornwall, with her partner Todour Filipov, 34, a care worker. She says:
I really got into football when the 2002 World Cup was on. I remember them showing the games on a big projector in primary school.
Mike Thomas – The Sun Roxy is a Spurs fan whilst Todour has no interest in football
I was mesmerised. It ignited something inside me and I’ve loved football ever since.
Not just the World Cup, I’m a massive Spurs fan and follow every game, so I was made up when Harry Kane got the captain’s armband for England.
My love of Spurs can get in the way of our relationship. This season I went to see Spurs v Burnley with my mate Jodie.
Spurs drew and we were so gutted we decided to commiserate with a few drinks and I ended up getting home much later than intended.
It doesn’t happen very often and I always make sure I make it up to Todour when I get home, so he would agree there are some perks.
I can’t wait for the competition to start. I don’t shut up about it and haven’t since the last one ended, so having a partner who isn’t into it at all can make it a little tricky.
I’ll have to watch all the matches on my own because Todour gets bored and he doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about when I try to explain players or tactics.
I’m kicking Todour out of the house for the first match against Tunisia because I’m throwing a party for the game. I don’t think he’s too pleased about it.
Todour says: “I dread the World Cup – I’ve got no interest in it and no one shuts up about it for weeks. Friends, family, work colleagues, it’s all they talk about, so I just try and zone out.
“I won’t stand a chance of watching anything I want to. Roxy insists on watching all the games live, so I’ll be relegated to a smaller TV.
“When I found out that she was planning a World Cup party that didn’t involve me, I wasn’t too happy about it.
“I’m dreading it if England go out.
“She’s not the best company after a defeat, so I’m preparing myself for the inevitable.
“But having said that, I’d love England to win – because that makes my life so much easier.”
‘We clash over telly remote sometimes’
PARISH council clerk Helen Mason, 45, lives in Great Dunmow, Essex, with husband Martin, 45, and children Freddie, 15, Amelie, 13, and Rex, seven. She says:
I’ve loved football ever since I was six, when I played in the garden with my step-dad.
JOHN McLELLAN Helen and Martin’s kids have inherited Helen’s love of the game
My earliest memory was cheering Arsenal on against Man Utd in the 1979 FA Cup final.
All the kids have inherited my love of the game.
They all play and I’m the one, not Martin, who takes them to all of their training sessions.
Sometimes I have got a bit cross when he hasn’t wanted to come and watch the kids playing their matches, but he has made an appearance occasionally when it’s a really important match.
One of Amelie’s football friends thought she didn’t have a dad because she’d never ever seen him at a match.
JOHN McLELLAN Helen says her obsession may be footie but Martin’s is motorbikes
I can’t wait for the World Cup. If it’s a big match, the kids and I will take over the lounge, and everything stops while we watch.
I don’t feel too sorry for Martin, though, because he has his own obsession – motorbikes.
While I’m watching he’ll go off and tinker in the garage. He knows if England lose I’m not the best person to be around, so he’s happier well out of it.
Martin says: “I couldn’t name one player in the England team. I do sometimes feel like football takes over our lives, especially with all three children playing it.
“But Helen does everything football related for the kids and they love it, so I can’t complain. All my friends know I have no interest in football so they don’t talk to me about it.
“Helen gets on well with my male friends and she often knows more about it than they do.
“We have clashed over the TV remote a few times, but I know I’m out-numbered in our house.
“A couple of times after Arsenal have lost important matches and Helen has been really down, I suggested she switch to a different team. That didn’t go down well. I won’t make that mistake if England get knocked out early – but at least I’ll get my family back.”
‘He will lose me for a few weeks’
MARKETING student Ellie Cranch, 22, from Plymouth, has been dating musician Matt Price, 25, for two years. She says:
I’m obsessed with sport and used to play football loads when I was growing up.
Wayne Perry – The Sun Ellie already has her World Cup wallchart up but partner Matt isn’t impressed
I was the only girl in a boys’ team and I reckon I could have carried on to quite a high level, but then I discovered volleyball and so football took a back seat.
I still love the game, though it started causing problems earlier this year.
Matt surprised me with dinner plans at a really nice local restaurant. But I had to tell him that it was Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final and I wouldn’t be going anywhere.
I said we could get a takeaway and watch the game together but he wasn’t up for that at all.
Wayne Perry – The Sun Crowded pub surrounded by football fans is Matt’s idea of hell
I really throw myself into the World Cup and have already got my wallchart up. I don’t think Matt understands why I’d want to watch any England game, let alone any of the other group games.
I’m trying to prepare him for the fact that he’s going to lose me for the next few weeks. My dad loves his football, so I’ll probably end up watching a lot of the big games with him, although it would be good to go to the pub if England get out of the group.
That would be Matt’s idea of hell – to be stuck in a crowded pub surrounded by football fans. But if he gave it a chance, he might actually enjoy it.